Wednesday, March 9, 2016
5 Tech Must-Haves For Your Home
There are advantages of being married to someone who's as tech-savvy as my husband is ... one of which includes being able to switch on the lights, heating, and music in the house from the comfort of my own bed. Like, on a Saturday morning when I'm on the verge of waking up but not quite ready yet - there's something fantastic about burrowing deeper into the covers while hearing the radiators trickle to life, knowing that the living room and kitchen will be lit-up when I finally decide to trod downstairs, all to the soundtrack of whatever's on my Spotify playlist at the moment.
Do I fully understand how these things work? Not really. Have I asked John to explain them to me all the while my eyes glaze over and I interrupt with, "Let's get donuts!"? Sure. But I know they've made my life a heck of a lot easier. And they suit my American sensibilities of making everything as convenient as possible.
So. I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but here are 5 tech must-haves for your home:
Smart Plug Adaptors
These are what enable me to turn off (nearly) all the lights in my house before bed with one tap of my phone. Or allow me to turn off my bedside light at work when I've realized I've forgotten to switch it off. We use the Orvibo WiWo plug adaptors, but there are other brands available as well. Once you've plugged in the adaptors and connected them to your wifi, you simply download the WiWo app and create a profile for each device. You can even create "settings" e.g. "Nighttime", which lets you turn off (or on) multiple devices at once. MAGICAL.
Multi-room Speaker System
We have three floors in our house (don't worry, it's definitely not a mansion - just skinny and tall) and our bedroom's in the loft, so it's nice to be cooking in the kitchen and run upstairs to put something away in the guest bedroom before grabbing something from our bedroom without losing the continuum of whatever music we're listening to at the moment - be it Vaughan-Williams or Kendrick Lamar (or as we recently discovered on Spotify, a curious playlist called "Kitchen Swagger" - not making this up). Of course, there's the ever-popular Sonos, but we use Samsung in our house.
I know most people watch shows on iPlayer these days, but in addition to those, I still like catching up on Freeview channels (y'all who are reading this in the U.S. be like, "Whaaa?" Just bear with me.) ... like The Bachelor and Real Housewives on ITVBe (John jokes that the TV is consistently switched to this channel when he gets home - not gonna pretend I sit around watching University Challenge all the time, though I'm very, very good at University Challenge when I've had a bit too much wine. I found myself screaming "KLIMT!" at the screen the other night followed by, "BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!" - I was right and all of the contestants were flummoxed). We have a Samsung TV downstairs and we use Apple TV upstairs with our projector, for renting movies.
This one's a winner because you can pre-heat your home prior to your arrival - no matter what time you're getting home at night. This can be either changed manually on your phone or (if you're returning home at your "usual" time) the smart heating hub should know this and automatically start pre-heating your house. We use Google Nest, but Hive is also a popular option. You do need a Nest electrician to come around and install the thermostat in your house, but the installation only takes around 15 minutes or so.
Smart Security Alarm
So, John's just installed the Yale Smart Security Alarm system in our house and it does give me some peace of mind while he's away travelling for work. We've had a few hiccups (currently trying to figure out how to NOT set it off immediately when we walk through the door - it used to have a countdown, but now we just remote disarm from our phones before we unlock the door, which is kind of a pain to remember) but otherwise, I like being able to "arm" the house once I've crawled into bed for the night, knowing that I don't have to jump at every sound because if someone actually broke in (touch wood) then the loud AF alarm would go off.
Basically, writing this post has made me realize that I'm really lazy. I've always known that, but the extent of my laziness has been highlighted in this single post. I think I mentioned the word "bed" seven times (actually, I know I did because I counted).
What about you? Do you use any of these smart devices in your home? Do you like them? Let me know!